Native Fibrin Gel Networks and Factors Influencing their Formation in Health and Disease
Hydrated fibrin gels were studied by confocal laser 3D microscopy, liquid permeation and turbidity. The gels from normal fibrinogen were found to be composed of straight rod-like fiber elements which sometimes originated from denser nodes. In gels formed at increasing thrombin or fibrinogen concentrations, the gel networks became tighter and the porosity decreased. The fiber strands also became shorter. Gel porosity of the network decreased dramatically in gels formed at increasing ionic strengths. Shortening of the fibers were observed and fiber swelling occurred at ionic strength above 0.24.
Albumin and dextran, when present in the gel forming system, affected the formation of more porous structures with strands of larger mass-length ratio and fiber thickness. This type of gels were also formed in plasma. Albumin and lipoproteins may be among the determinants for the formation of this type of gel structure in plasma.
Gels formed when factor XIIIa instead of thrombin was used as catalyst for gelation showed a completely different structure in which lumps of polymeric material were held together by a network of fine fiber strands.
Our studies have also shown that the methodologies employed may be useful in studies of gel structures in certain dysfibrinogenemias as well as in other diseases. We give examples of two patients with abnormal fibrinogen and of patients with ischaemic heart disease.
KeywordsIonic Strength Factor Xiii Stereo Pair Fibrinogen Concentration Average Fiber Diameter
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